Privacy Concerns Rise as MetaMask Starts Collecting Users’ IP and Ethereum Addresses

source: unsplash
source: unsplash

ConsenSys, the software company behind MetaMask, has updated its privacy policy to start tracking users’ IP addresses and Ethereum addresses during on-chain transactions.

However, the data will be collected only when users use Infura – Metamask’s default remote procedure call (RPC) provider. 

Infura, an affiliate of ConsenSys, is an API-based tool that helps applications connect with the Ethereum network. It is a widely used tool integrated across projects such as OpenZeppelin, Aragon, and Gnosis.

According to ConsenSys’ privacy policy, if someone is using their “own Ethereum node or a third party RPC provider with MetaMask, then neither Infura nor MetaMask will collect your IP address or Ethereum wallet address.”

The collected information may be shared with affiliates or subsidiaries, as well as with partners during a business deal involving sale or transfer of assets. 

Explaining the changes, the company stated in a blog post:

“The updates to the policy do not result in more intrusive data collection or data processing, and were not made in response to any regulatory changes or inquiries. This is not Infura-specific and is consistent with how web architecture works generally, though we continue to pursue technical solutions to minimize this exposure.”

Metamask is currently the leading non-custodial wallet with an active monthly user base of more than 21 million. 

Expectedly, the move hasn’t garnered much favorable reaction. Adam Cochran, a partner at Cinneamhain Ventures, expressed his disappointment over Twitter along with many others. 

Growing regulatory scrutiny

The news comes just three days after decentralized exchange Uniswap revealed its plans to collect off-chain data such as device type, browser version, etc.

However, Hayden Adams, the founder of Uniswap, has come out clarifying that the protocol neither tracks IP nor lets APIs track IP addresses of users. 

As things stand, ConsenSys has joined the podium with web3 players, such as Coinbase, that have started collecting user information like IP addresses due to growing regulatory scrutiny.

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About the Author
Himan Mohapatra
Himan Mohapatra
Himan Mohapatra is an industry expert within the crypto-sphere and the primary journalist for Coinmash. He is passionate about finance and disruptive tech, such as blockchain. One can find him playing Valorant or FIFA when away from his desk.